Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented the Union Budget 2020 in the Parliament on Saturday with the
key announcements being the new tax slabs, proposal to raise banks' deposit insurance, LIC IPO launch, among others.
The government vowed to boost the income of Indians and their purchasing power, in a bid to revive domestic economic growth that has slumped.
In terms of fund allocation to key sectors, agriculture and rural development has been given Rs 2.83 lakh crore, Rs 1.7 lakh has been allocated for the development of transport infrastructure, Rs 99,300 has been announced for education and Rs 60,000 crore has been allocated for healthcare.
Among the things that got costlier are cigarettes, tobacco products, medical equipments and others due to hike in taxes while the items that will become cheaper include raw sugar, agro-animal based products, tuna bait, skimmed milk, select alcoholic beverages, among others.
In an interview with CNBC-TV18, Sangita Reddy, president of FICCI and joint MD of Apollo Hospitals, Harsh Pati Singhania, former president of FICCI and vice chairman and MD of JK Paper, Naina Lal Kidwai, former president of FICCI and chair of India Sanitation Coalition, Sandip Somany, immediate former president of FICCI and VC and MD of HSIL, and YK Modi, former president of FICCI and executive chairman of GEECL decoded the Union Budget 2020.
Speaking about the takeaways from Budget 2020, Reddy said that FICCI was quite happy that multiple recommendations that were given had been heard, implemented and executed. “We felt that the finance minister was in a difficult situation and even a few hours before the budget people were not expecting an ability to find some wiggle room in this, but I think she has. She has found ways to put money into individuals’ hands by the tax reduction, she has found ways to boost the agri sector and done that very smartly. I think the industry has seen multiple areas of encouragement, but most significant is what stood out has been this whole aspect of trust, respect for wealth creators...," she said.
When asked about across the board import duty hikes, Singhania replied, “The Indian industry was saying for a long time – particularly the manufacturing sector – that they need to be insulated or protected from import surges, from dumping and so on. This is very much in keeping in what industry was asking for. I think this is a positive to try and preserve Indian jobs to give Indian manufacturing a better fillip.”
Speaking about LIC IPO and targets for privatisation, Kidwai said, “I have always been in favour of disinvestment and privatisation, so these announcements are very welcomed and the big bang announcement here is LIC... I can only hope the government will not take its eye off the privatisation agenda...so it is going to be very critical to see how the government is going to embark on the implementation and execution so we can see the funds come in this year."On whether the budget would provide the much-needed consumption boost, Somany said, “We had mentioned from FICCI that consumption has to be stimulated and we must give more money in people's hands, both rural as well as urban. I think this is a step in the direction.”